Well, I’ve climbed 5 days in a row now, going on 6 today, starting to feel tired. But, I seem to have so much zest for the rock these days, I simply can’t get enough. Hiking, bouldering, climbing, trad, bolts, I’ve been doing it all, as much as possible. Finally, after the longest winter of my life. The highlight of my week so far was a new free climb I opened up on the imposing Pan Wall. It’s an old aid route called ‘The Edge of Pan’, 5 pitches, 5.8 A3, 1983 and sits quietly below the first summit of the Chief. It’s a hard wall to get to, steep and with the maximum amount of exposure Squamish provides. On friday, I went up there with my incredibly selfless friend Chris Weldon and with drink in hand, he belayed me out in space, on the 45 meter crux corner pitch, which, for the record, is one of the single best rock climbs I have ever done, period. Certainly one of the highest quality routes in Squamish. The climb goes at 5.13-, no easier, no harder, it’s a prime candidate for an onsight because it’s so sustained, all you need is a decent head on your shoulders and strong legs. Great shoes and a bit of luck are also highly recommended. It’s a technical masterpiece and I was lucky to have fired it off under the watchful eyes of my friend Andrew Querner, who shot video of the ascent. I felt (and still feel) so lucky to be able to nab such a precious climb. Again, one of my all time favorite experiences on the rocks. Mostly because I wasn’t sure I was going to do it, I headed up with a rack of tiny gear, lots of small wires and a double rack of C3’s, and triple in some sizes. My legs were shaking, my mind was uncertain, my feet were aching and my calves were on fire. It was 8pm, and this was my only chance until August, so I kept inching upwards. Move by move. Chris told me later the ascent took about 45 minutes. I am so lucky. I am so stoked. Now, the best thing to do would be a full ground up ascent of the entire route, one could choose to climb the Apron, or the greater, and most obvious line would be to link in “Never, Never Land” 5.12 directly into the Edge of Pan for a full straight up, top to bottom ascent. That’s the ultimate. I hope I can do that when I get back. Tomorrow I leave for Salt Lake City and the Black Diamond headquarters, then, to Mazama for a fun festival with Five Ten and a slide show, then to the Rockies for a month of high altitude Canadian limestone. Aahhh shheeet ya. Gotta love summertime.
These two pics below, were taken last winter, after I first inspected the line, I brought big guns Willy Stanhope up with me to show him the route, after these snaps were taken my battery died, I never did take a photo of the corner. But like I said in the comments, new routing is fun.